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I think that's a fan-bloody-tastic idea. I never thought about a roudabout there, but I know a lot of people who go out of their way to avoid that intersection. A roundabout would probably help with the traffic stream up Sandy and the issues with trying to cross from Ankeny, as well (which I ride down every day). Brilliant!

Bob R.

The _eastside_ Burnside-Couch couplet project proposes to solve much of the intersection problems with what is essentially a squared-off half-circle at 14th.

See the project preliminary engineering page at: http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=46449&a=189204
and click on the Project Area Map link (PDF format.)

I suspect the squared-off design at 14th is so that the newly-exposed parcels between 12th and 14th can be developed, but utilizing a true traffic circle might be worth the loss in real-estate both in terms of traffic flow and visual appeal.

But the project is pretty far along in the design stages at this point. Anyone close to the project know how set-in-stone the design is at 14th?

Mole in PDOT

The train has already left the station. Plans for the Eastside Burnside/Couch couplet are being finalized and construction is slated to begin in late 2009.

It's hard to believe that this crazy intersection is really going the way of the dodo, but it really is. Personally, I'm going to miss this quirky corner of our city.

Mr. Potestio's idea is an interesting one, but I just don't think that it would do much to alleviate traffic concerns at this intersection. The traffic volumes are so large, that a lot of expensive real estate would have to be aquired in order to make a traffic circle work in this location.

The plan that is moving forward is much better suited to serving bikes, pedestrians and streetcars than a traffic circle would. The other advantage is that the couplet configuration actually uses less land than the current arrangement.

A certain local developer is already moving forward with plans to redevelop the portion of Sandy Boulevard that will no longer be used once the couplet is created. This individual is looking at a multi-block, mixed-use development for this area ala the Brewery Blocks.

Maybe the name the Bottling Blocks should be used due to the nearby Portland Bottling Company building?

John Russell

I certainly like the idea, but it looks like the couplet is already too far ahead, and I think that this would deal with the issues more readily.

Now, I can't remember who suggested this, but why did no one ever think to rename a farmer's market after this worthy man? Instead of renaming an 80'-wide ribbon of pavement and rails that has little to nothing to do with Sr. Chavez, why not rename something that is actually related to the causes he championed?

I believe the argument went on to speak about Rosa Parks Way. How does N Portland Boulevard relate to her in a tangible way? For those of you who haven't set foot downtown, it turns out that there's this little thing called the bus (transit) mall. Where did Mrs. Parks take a stand? Oh yes, on a bus. Why not use the newly reconstructed transit mall to honor her contributions to society?

Okay, enough ranting, but I hope you get the idea.


No doubt statues in traffic circles do look nice, however don’t confuse traffic circles with rotaries with roundabouts. Roundabouts are great for moving auto traffic, can be a bit dodgy for bicycles, and are a hazard for pedestrians (esp. the visually impaired). Anyway, the approach grades at that intersection would not work with for roundabout.


Maybe I'm just a simple Portlander who doesn't pay enough attention, but I thought the couplet was a proposed idea. The way folks are presenting information from city planning and other sources it sounds like a foregone conclusion.

Is this only on the eastside or is the construction ball already swinging on the westside as well?

I see the traffic circle as a wonderful placemaking solution for this part of town. It would hopefully take care of traffic congestion in a much needed area but also start to define the inner East burnside commercial district that already sports some fine restaurants and bars. This area could use a real landmark in the way a previous post by Mr Libby talked about PDC Planning an MLK gateway.

Bob R.

The eastside portion of the couplet proposal received a far higher degree of support from local businesses and residents (with some exceptions) than the westside. The proposals were basically split into two projects, and the eastside project has been moving forward at a faster pace.

Because the eastside and westside portions are constrained by routing traffic across a single bridge (there is no proposal for a Couch St. Bridge, for example), they can be easily separated into two distinct projects.

Mole in PDOT

Bob is correct. The Burnside/Couch Couplet has been broken into two distinct segments.

The portion on the east side of the river has been adopted by City Council and in undergoing final engineering. This portion will be streetcar compatible with the rails and other infrastructure to be added at a later date.

The westside couplet is still up for debate, and a vote by City Council will happen late this fall. Early opposition was strong, but appears to be withering as adjacent property owners support the couplet more and more.


The best suggestion I've heard is to rename the Stadium Freeway after Chavez. 100K plus people would travel it every day and no one would have to change their stationary.

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